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Energy Calculations

Flash notes: Comparing the energy produced by fuels

Earlier in the year you should have learnt that

• Endothermic reactions are reactions that take in energy from the

surroundings, this means the temperature will drop and the surroundings
will feel colder, or the reaction will require continuous heating.

• Exothermic reactions are reactions that give out energy to the

surroundings, this means the temperature will increase and the
surroundings will feel hotter.

Different fuels will give out different amounts of energy. To compare fuels and
evaluate their properties we must be able to compare the amount of energy
being produced. This is carried out in a BOMB CALORIMETER. Here a measured
amount of fuel is burnt in excess oxygen in a sealed container surrounded by a
known volume of water. This means that all the energy is transferred to the
water. In the class room this experiment can be carried out using a simple
calorimeter (a copper beaker) however heat loss to the surroundings can reduce
the accuracy of this experiment meaning your answer will not be as close to the
true value.

This process can be used to find out the energy content of foods in joules per
gram, remember that foods that contain more energy are foods such as fats, oils
and sugars.

Flash notes: Energy changes in reaction

A chemical reaction occurs in two stages

1. Bond breaking: Here the bonds between the reactant molecules must be
broken, to break bonds energy must be added, and this is an endothermic
process. The amount of energy added is called the activation energy. If
not enough energy has been added the reaction will not occur.

2. Bond making: The atoms formed from the bond breaking join together to
make the product molecules. The process of bond making gives out
energy, this is an exothermic process

It is the difference between these two that shows whether a reaction is

endothermic or exothermic. Make sure you know the ‘ins and outs’ of the two
graphs below.
The 
H (energy change) for endothermic reactions is positive and the H
(energy change) for exothermic reactions is negative.

Finally remember that a catalyst will lower a reactions activation energy

meaning that less energy has to be put in for the reaction to be successful. This
can be shown on a graph. (See example below.)

Flash notes: Calculations using bond energies.

Due to the way atoms form chemical bonds every different chemical bond
requires a different amount of energy to break it or will give out a different
amount of energy when the bond is formed.

Chemists have carried out thousands of experiments to calculate average bond

energies for nearly all the specific bonds we know.

Remember the definition of BOND ENERGY is the amount of energy needed to

break the bond between two atoms.
We can use these bond energies to calculate the energy change for a reaction.

1. Balance the symbol equation and then draw out all the bonds in the
reactants and products
2. Write down all the energies for the bonds you need to break and total
them. This is the amount of energy you are going to have to put in.
3. Write down all the energies for the bonds you are going to make. This is
the amount of energy that will be given out.
4. To calculate the overall energy change; subtract the energy given out
from the energy put in. If this value is positive the reaction is endothermic,
and if this value is negative the reaction is exothermic.

Make sure you can follow this process through on the reaction example below.

Bond Bond Energy (in kJ per mole)

H—H 436
Cl—Cl 242
H—Cl 431
The bond energy is the amount of energy which
1) you must put in to break the bond, or
2) is given out when the bond is formed.
In the reaction between hydrogen and chlorine,
the big numbers used to balance the equation (1H2 + 1Cl2 2HCl) tell you
how many moles there are of reactant and product.
You must break 1 mole of H—H bonds, and 1 mole of Cl—Cl bonds.
The amount of energy needed is
436 + 242 kJ = 678 kJ.
When 2 moles of H—Cl bonds are formed, the amount of energy given out is
2 x 431 kJ = 862 kJ.
The difference between these two energies (reactants minus products) is the
overall amount of energy given out per mole of reactants.
678 - 862 kJ = -184 kJ.
The change in energy during a reaction is given the symbol H.
In the reaction between hydrogen and chlorine, H = -184 kJ per mole.